I Agree With Obama (Just This Once) --Now With Cartoon Goodness!

"The Editor" From The Ryskind Sketchbook

Yesterday I linked Sen. Obama's 2001 remarks about redistribution and the courts that Conservatives have been talking about for the past 48 hours.

With all due respect, I have to disagree with El Rushbo (and my cartoonist), or at least with the rant he was on for the time I was in the car in the first hour of his show today. I don't take Obama to be arguing for rule by judicial fiat (although I don't doubt he is much more comfortable with legislation from the bench than I am). The following remark comes in response to a caller who asks about achieving social justice through judicial ukase, and he poo-poos that:
You know, I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way. [snip] You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, you know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time. You know, the court is just not very good at it, and politically, it’s just very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard.
That's exactly right. The last remark is exactly why Roe turned abortion into our over-arching political question (I am speaking only of the politics, not backing off at all from the contention that the right to life is the foundation of every other right). What he is saying about the (as he styles it) civil rights movement is what I've argued for years with respect to the pro-life cause. You don't achieve fundamental change through the courts, even when you try.

Earlier he makes a statement I also agree with with respect to the right to life:
one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that."

The right-to-life Movement has been so court-focused that we've done much less legislatively than we could have. Actually, maybe that's not true at the state level. But we have required nothing of our "pro-life" Congressmen other than professed desire for a Human Life Amendment. We haven't asked them to do anything legislatively. (And then, come election time, a certain segment of "values voters" complain bitterly that George Bush --or whatever GOP President, the same was said about Reagan and H.W.-- hasn't "done" anything for them! He's not the do-nothing pro-lifer, your own dang Congressmen are, people. Is a little understanding of the political process too much to ask for, my Whiney-Pants Confreres In the Cause of Life? But I digress.)

Anyway, the problem with what Obama says is not that he's advocating judicial tyranny --I don't think he is-- it's that he openly discusses his aim to achieve economic redistribution through the political process. Economic redistribution --at least on the scale he's dreaming of-- is an extremely bad, unjust idea. It is socialism --about that, Rush is right. That's the problem.

I'm actually impressed with Obama's remarks. They show he's thought about the political process clearly and thoroughly. Which makes him a formidable opponent.